ByJames McDonald, writer at Creators.co
James is a Movie Critic and Celebrity Interviewer with over 30 years of experience as an Award-Winning Filmmaker.
James McDonald

On December 18th, 2015, actor and comedian Rob Schneider was in Dallas to appear at the Addison Improv but also to promote his latest animated film, “Norm of the North.” The movie tells the story of a polar bear named Norm who after having been displaced from his home in the Arctic, travels with his three lemming friends to New York City, where he becomes the mascot for a corporation he soon learns is tied to the fate of his homeland.

I sat down with Mr. Schneider whereby upon learning that I was from Ireland, he proceeded to tell me that he had been to my homeland for the screening of a movie he made along with pal Adam Sandler and Dennis Dugan, the director of “Happy Gilmore,” “Big Daddy,” “National Security,” and “Grown Ups.” All his life, Dennis pronounced his last name Doogan, and after traveling to Ireland, he discovered it was pronounced Dugan.

Rob Schneider
He didn’t know his whole life he’d been calling himself Dennis Doogan and it’s Dugan.

James McDonald
It’s Dugan.

Rob Schneider
It was an emotional thing. It was like, “Oh man, your name’s Dugan.” I’ll call him Dugan every time I see him for the rest of his life. It was beautiful because Adam Sandler and I are driving over to the screening of his movie and there’s all these kids driving across the street. I was like, “Where are all these kids going to?” (In Northern Ireland accent) “Ah, they’re there to see you. You and Adam.” It’s beautiful.

James McDonald
Were you in northern Ireland?

Rob Schneider
No. We were in Dublin but the accent I do is from up north I think.

James McDonald
It’s from Belfast.

Rob Schneider
Daniel Day-Lewis.

James McDonald
That’s right. Yeah, from any of the movies he’s done, “In the Name of the Father” or “The boxer.”

Rob Schneider
Yeah.

James McDonald
It’s a hard accent to get down, the northern accent.

Rob Schneider
Yeah. Right. I was just doing the accent for a movie I was trying to get into. The English are the biggest snobs ever.

James McDonald
Oh yeah?

Rob Schneider
We’re like, “Yeah, I live in America. Yeah, you English come over here all the time, bastards.”

James McDonald
That’s right (laughs).

Rob Schneider
The biggest snobs in the world are English. The worst media in the world, of course, are English. I don’t mind saying that to an Irishman.

James McDonald
Right (laughs). I was looking up your bio on IMDB and you have a film listed for 2017. Your name is in it. You’re listed as Ray…

Rob Schneider
That’s … No.

James McDonald
… but you’re not on the poster. Sean Brosnan is on the poster and you’re not on there.

Rob Schneider
That’s never going to happen.

James McDonald
No?

Rob Schneider
No, these people never have any money.

James McDonald
Right.

Rob Schneider
They just … IMDB is just crap. They can say whatever they want. I never put anything on IMDB. Sometimes you have to call and say, “Take it down.”

James McDonald
Right. Right.

Rob Schneider
It’s just that some filmmakers want to be the biggest movie. I would’ve done it. It’s a pretty good movie, not great.

James McDonald
Vinnie Jones and Ving Rhames were listed as being in it as well.

Rob Schneider
I’m sure those guys were also. Vinnie’s a great guy.

James McDonald
Yeah. Yeah.

Rob Schneider
Yeah. Well, like most actors, they’ll show up for the opening of an envelope. “What’s going on?” He’s a legendary guy. Very few actors can make that transition to … Very few professional athletes … He’s a good actor. I worked with him in a movie. A forgettable movie unfortunately. With Kathy Bates and me and him, it seemed like it had a chance but you never know.

James McDonald
Right.

Rob Schneider
It’s called “You May Now Kiss The Bride.”

James McDonald
Yeah, I’ve heard of that one, yeah. Haven’t seen it, but I’ve heard of it.

Rob Schneider
My friend told me, “It’s the worst movie I’ve ever seen. You somehow stand above as if you somehow don’t get sunk down in the muck with everybody else.” I’m like, “Is that a compliment?”

James McDonald
(laughs) Right. Right.

Rob Schneider
You do take a risk when you jump into something. You hope it works and that one didn’t.

James McDonald
Well you’ve voiced characters in various animated films such as “Eight Crazy Nights,” “Top Cat the Movie,” and “Dino Time” to name but a few.

Rob Schneider
Nothing like this.

James McDonald
“Norm of the North” appears to be the biggest animated film you’ve been associated with to date.

Rob Schneider
I like the challenge of some of these things … A friend of mine was like, “Dude, they already did the animation.” “Well why the fuck are you bringing me in now?” “Well we just need somebody to …” So you kind of make it work within it and it’s like shooting a full court shot backwards with missing fingers. But if you can make it work sometimes, I like … Specific jokes for this action and this little thing and make it work.

James McDonald
Right.

Rob Schneider
I like that challenge, but clearly … I’ve been on this for five years. So certainly much more interesting to try to do something and make something funny. As I’m older now, I like the challenge of trying to get families to come see this.

James McDonald
Right. Right.

Rob Schneider
Get everybody. If you can make something funny, man … I remember something Jerry Seinfeld saying when he was nice enough to talk to us young comics. “You guys have got to take the swearing out. And if it’s not funny without the swearing, it’s not funny.”

James McDonald
Nice.

Rob Schneider
So he took the time to tell us that. And so you have to make stuff funny. You have to make this thing physically funny, make it sound funny, make a story that’s interesting. And for an hour and a half to keep kids’ attention.

James McDonald
Right.

Rob Schneider
That’s a real challenge. You got four-, five-, six-, seven-, eight-year-olds. If you ain’t keeping their attention and they’re not laughing, they’re leaving.

James McDonald
They’re gone.

Rob Schneider
Saying, “What else is going on? What are you guys doing back there? Want to do something else? What are you doing right now?” So I like that challenge.

James McDonald
Yeah. Yeah.

Rob Schneider
I think they really tried hard on this. This animated behemoth with gigantic studio bias. It’s strategic. We’re like some sort of fine-tuned heat-seeking animated missile. We have a specific target, we have to make sure we aim it where it’s really close to it and boom!

James McDonald
Right.

Rob Schneider
See what happens. Try your best. Five years of different changes and working the story, working the characters. There are some really good actors in it. We’ll see if it works.

James McDonald
I like the message the movie conveyed to the audience, especially the younger ones. And it showed the plight of the Arctic and the effects of global warming and the exploitation of natural gas, oil, and other natural resources in that area of the world.

Rob Schneider
Well, the thing is … Oil is going to run out in the middle of the century. There’s this thing called peak oil. It’s not a rumor. It’s not a theory. It’s a fact. Peak oil is basically when it starts to become … the oil that has been consumed is now more than the oil that is left. For example, the Gulf oil catastrophe. After a while, it was spilling less and less because it was at peak. The interesting part though is if we allow the Arctic to not be used in a way that we’ll save it, it’ll be gone for thousands of years as opposed to spending our time and energy into crafting and coming up with the expertise to take these new energies that have to come out anyway. So relying on this nineteenth century phenomenon oil is going to have to go pretty soon. But it’s interesting because the movie also kind of rides the fence. It’s not just about that. It’s also … It has the guy who wants to save the Arctic is also an idiot. Truthfully, not to crap on PETA, but the guy who founded PETA left PETA. He said, “This is not my organization anymore.”

James McDonald
Really?

Rob Schneider
His name’s Alex. He founded it. I know the guy. He founded it and said, “I don’t want to do this anymore.” So nothing against PETA but the founder left. You have to have a balance. I understand. I’m against the overuse of beautiful territory but that’s a very callous thing for me to say because I live in Los Angeles. I drive a car, I drive an electric car. I still have a house but it’s a solar house.

James McDonald
Oh great.

Rob Schneider
I still have to fly a plane here. I don’t fly a private jet because I think it looks too elitist. So I don’t do it unless Adam Sandler makes me. But you have to have … There’s some balances. You have to be aware of these things. And I think ultimately what we’re talking about is that individual people have to make individual choices on what world they want with how they spend their money and what they do. And you have to make choices. “Does my individual decision make the world a better place? Does it improve the human condition? Does it improve the nature or does it worsen it?” That bottle right there. Since we started making these plastic bottles, we can easily filter water and have it everywhere. Instead we have now a plastic glob with mixed radioactivity from the Japanese nuclear accident from four years ago. It is the size of Texas, it is in the middle of the Pacific.

James McDonald
Yeah, I saw that.

Rob Schneider
Where the hell is it going to go? It’s just plastic. It’s a weird thing like 90% of all sea birds have some form of plastic in their system. We don’t have leadership in America dealing with real problems that are really affecting people and really affecting the environment. No one is doing it. Hillary’s not talking about it.

James McDonald
Right.

Rob Schneider
Donald Trump surely isn’t talking about it. So we have … taking care of what’s happening today. And we have to have some leadership. Make some tough decisions. Tough decisions to say, “Okay, natural gas is a great idea but at the same time you have to offset that.” And that’s why the movie tries to ride the line. It’s easy for me to say we shouldn’t develop up in Canada. But there’s nothing there in this particular area I think it’s Fort McHenry. What else is there? If these people need that for their jobs for this area, it’s very arrogant for me in Los Angeles or Dallas to go, “Hey, you guys can’t do that because in my mind I think it’s better if you don’t.”

James McDonald
Exactly.

Rob Schneider
So again you have to think about jobs and you have to think about the economies. Because Saudi Arabia’s not flooding the oil market. It cost $60 a barrel to make profitable gas. It’s $80 in Russia. Right? A barrel.

James McDonald
Yes.

Rob Schneider
They have enough to go for another 20-30 years. It’s good but what happens then?

James McDonald
Do you hope kids watching this movie will come away not just entertained but asking questions?

Rob Schneider
Asking questions but also realizing that there’s two sides. You have to realize for every action, there’s a reaction. You have Canadians living and making money in the oil industry. Right now they’re hurting. Is there a better way? Is it more energy to heat up shale? I don’t think kids are going to walk away with that. But I think if you make them aware …

James McDonald
Right.

Rob Schneider
And then they can ask questions. If he told kids after this movie that polar bears are really in trouble, I think they would care about that. But I also think you have to be aware you’re there to entertain.

James McDonald
Exactly.

Rob Schneider
And also that it’s not some cut and dry. And I think it’s potentially very arrogant for … I remember, not to pick on Larry David from “Curb Your Enthusiasm” but his wife a few years back was talking about SUVs. And I was at a function with him and his wife and I said, “That’s like families trying to get somewhere with their kids. And it’s a very elitist thing to say you can’t do that when you’re flying your private jet for the weekend. So I think you have to look at both sides. If you make individual decisions to make the world a better place, that’s the way we need to go. You’re not going to get that from a lot of actors. Maybe Alec Baldwin.

James McDonald
Maybe Alec Baldwin (laughs).

Rob Schneider
That’s why “Team America” was so beautiful. Film Actors Guild. Alec Baldwin. It was very funny. Those guys are brilliant. Making fun of me was … a very huge compliment. I’m worried they haven’t made fun of me in ten years. Hopefully they will again after this movie.

James McDonald
You’re at the improv tonight.

Rob Schneider
Yeah.

James McDonald
Is it your first time in Dallas at the improv?

Rob Schneider
No. I’ve been to Dallas on and off for almost thirty years. This is like my twenty-ninth year I’ve been on. It’s one of my favorite places to do stand up because there’s this perception of Dallas or Texas as extremely conservative. It’s not.

James McDonald
Right.

Rob Schneider
There’s a huge liberal amount, there’s a huge gay population. It used to be a Democratic state for most of its history. I think you have people who stand up for their rights and I also think you have people who are extremely generous in their willingness to hear your ideas. That’s what I find about Texas. I come out here to try new material. I got about 25 minutes of shit. I want to see how it works. If it works here, it’s going to probably work everywhere else. I like that. There’s an arrogance about maybe the size of their ranch but it certainly isn’t the acceptance of other people’s ideas. It’s an interaction of ideas and I think that’s what’s particularly great about Dallas. I really like it. I have friends here and I’ve been coming here for years and I feel like … When I was going off a movie or TV show, I said, “I’m going to have new material by this date. I want to try it in Dallas.”

James McDonald
Cool.

Rob Schneider
We’ll see tonight because some of it’s very tough. I’m dealing with the terrorist thing that happened and I’m talking about racism and in a way that’s funny. I’m trying to entertain. But I know it’s a little tough so I want to try it here.

James McDonald
Try it out.

Rob Schneider
Hopefully no one will videotape it. We’ll see. I don’t know. But anyway.

James McDonald
Best of luck with that tonight.

Rob Schneider
Thank you. Thank you for your interesting questions. I appreciate it. You can use it for a good thirty-second sound bite. That’s what it’ll turn into anyway. “Oh yeah, Rob Schneider. He liked playing a polar bear. Also in the news, Steve Carell has a new …” I know what it is. It’s a sound bite.

“Norm of the North” arrives in theaters January 15th

For more info about James visit his website at www.IrishFilmCritic.com

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